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Karna’s Wife A tale of a woman who married an “Outcast”

Updated on October 19, 2015
Karna the warrior
Karna the warrior


Karna is one of the great characters of the Mahabharata war. He was born an illegitimate son of the Queen Kunti and was abandoned by her. He was set adrift in a small boat and rescued by a charioteer, who brought him up. Karna thus, though born a Kshatriya had to endure being a lower caste. He was however possessed of great strength and skill in weaponry and though classified as a lower caste could beat the best of the Kshatriya warrior. He came to know his origin, when his mother met him before the Mahabharata war and asked him to join his brothers. He had 5 brothers known as the Pandavas.

Karna was on the horns of a dilemma, yet his loyalty to Duryodhana the Kaurava prince prevailed and he refused to side with the Pandavas, but he promised not to kill any Pandva except Arjuna, who he felt has usurped his right.

Karna at the Swayamvara of Draupadi

Karna appeared at the swayamvara of Draupadi and the princes all around were in awe at his prowess. Later Draupadi confessed that she herself would have liked Karna as a husband in case he had won. Unfortunately the Pandavas raised the issue of caste and debarred Karna from the swayamvara. Karna was humiliated and sent away and in his absence Arjuna won Draupadi. From that day onwards Karna was a sworn enemy of Arjuna.

The kaurava prince Duryodhana gave succor to Karna and took him under his patronage. He was thus forever beholden to the Kaurava prince, who was the enemy of the Pandavas.

Karna’s Wife

Karna however remained an outcaste, yet the princess Uruvi fell in love with him. She was the second wife of Karna, but she was a strong-willed princess and in due course became the primary anchor in Karna’s highly turbulent life.

Uruvi was the only daughter of the King of Pukeya. She defied all social norms and traditions to garland the person she loved – Karna, a near social outcast and a charioteer’s son. Being the wife of Karna was not easy and Uruvi faced resentment from all the people who’ve ever loved her. That Karna has pledged his loyalties to the Kaurava prince Duryodhana did not ameliorate the situation.

Raised in absolute royalty and pampered throughout her life by a doting father, Uruvi found herself facing many challenging situations, some that even tended to shatter her faith in the man she loved the most. But having gone against family and society, she now had to live her choice for the sake of her unborn child.

The forlorn hero
The forlorn hero

Time with Karna

As horrific events leading up to the famous war of Kurukshetra begin to unravel, Uruvi braced herself for what is going to be her final destiny. Resigning to the fact that breaking her husband’s resolve is not an option, she busied herself in her homely duties, tending to wounded soldiers and being Karna’s strength for the few years she knows they will be together. She was aware as forecast by astrologers that Karna would be killed by a ruse.

Karna the Man

Karna is in fact the central character of the Mahabharta.. A righteous man, a valiant warrior, a loyal friend, a dedicated and loving husband, an ideal son and the unsung hero. Karna was a man of his word and though on many occasions he defeated the Pandva brothers like Bhīma he spared their life as he had promised his mother Kunte that he will kill only one Pandva and that too only Arjuna. He had prophetically said that come what may either I or Arjuna will die and you will still have 5 sons.


The princess was aware that Karna would die, not in a straight battle but by a ruse. She had tried to dissuade Karna from joining Duryodhana, but Karna remained loyal to him and though knowing that he was under a curse went into battle despite the entreaty of his wife.

Urvi is one of the unsung heroines of the Mahabharata and her role is not glorified. But she was a great part of Karna and she loved him. When she came to know he was a Kshatriya, she wanted to announce to the world, but Karna forbade her and as a loyal wife she acquiesced. Urvi’s is a tragic tale, but a poignant reminder that women have great inherent strength.

killing of Karna
killing of Karna

Killing of Karna.

The Mahabharata tells us that Karna in battle with Arjuna in single combat defeated him again and again and in all probability would have won and killed him. But during battle his chariot sank in the mud and at that time Arjuna killed him by a ruse.

Karna was killed but poor Urvi was left forlorn and alone. She chose karna despite his being an outcaste , yet paid a terrible price for her selection

Do you think Karna got justice in his life ?

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    • emge profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Thank you Devika, nice that you read this post and commented

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You enlightened me on another different topic. This is a learning lesson for me.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Hari, you are a great inspiration. Thank you for commenting and your suggestion.

    • shprd74 profile image

      Hari Prasad S 

      2 years ago from Bangalore

      Karna is a character to sympathize yet beware of wrong doing leads to path of destruction. Some people are choosen to be so for the sake of complex dimensions of our lifes which are not always white or black but grey. I also voted, yes, with all sympathy. Very nice story and keep digging such lost characters like urvi for us. May be duryodhana too was so for a purpose and there were many characteristics about him which are not aware of. Pls write about him too.

      - Hari

    • manatita44 profile image


      3 years ago from london

      Thank you, thank you, and yours, my Friend. Keep it up. Continue ... Hari Om Tat Sat!!

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Thank you Manatita for such a sweet comment. This shows the beauty of your mind

    • manatita44 profile image


      3 years ago from london

      I wrote yes with great sadness in my Heart as I really loved Karna. You are such a loving writer, and have done him great justice here.

      My Guru taught that when one duty classes with another, the greater should always be embraced and so Karna should have taken Sri Krishna's side. Still, you already know, I'm sure, that there were many forces involved in this war.

      The old order had to go to usher in the new. One feels that Karna knew this, but felt duty bound to fight. We are all the victims of our Dharma. It dances on our foreheads. Who knows the ways of the Lord?

      A supreme and brilliantly written Hub, my friend. Higher blessings.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Yes Madu, Karna had only ONE friend and that was Duryodhun

    • 10000001 profile image

      madugundu krishna 

      3 years ago from Yemmiganur

      Karna was a great person in Mahabharat. He was very faith on Duryodhana.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Thank you Vasantha for commenting

    • vasantha  T k profile image

      vasantha T k 

      3 years ago from Bangalore

      Interesting , to know about the story of Urvi, karna's wife. Thanks for sharing.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Thank you Dr Pran for your comment

    • Dr Pran Rangan profile image

      Dr Pran Rangan 

      3 years ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Nice write up about Karna's wife. Thanks for sharing.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Thank you Chitra for commenting. LOL

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Nice and interesting hub!

      Its so amazing that I have not read about Karna's wife anywhere, although we know about Mahabharata from beginning till end.

      Thanks for sharing this informative hub! Very well done and voted up!

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Thank you for a lovely comment. Yes, Karna is one of the tragic heroes of Hindu mythology

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      3 years ago from Philippines

      This is a rich, lovely story and I am so grateful that you wrote it on Hub Pages. It reminds me of Romeo and Juliet, except they married and he died long after. I think you also wrote this story very well:)


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